In this edition of the Gatekeeper we would like you to meet Rev. Sheryl Shipman. She pastor’s Mt. Zion AME in Trussville. Rev. Shipman has an interesting story about how she came to faith and her call to ministry. Sheryl is one of NOBTS Birmingham Center’s biggest recruiters. She and Damien Littlejohn have encouraged many of their fellow AME pastors to come to the Birmingham Center. Because of her influence several AME pastors from the Birmingham area have enrolled for classes. Sheryl has also encouraged AME pastors in Mobile to go to the NOBTS Pensacola Center that meets at Olive Baptist Church. Many students at NOBTS Birmingham have come to love Sheryl and her heart for the Lord and ministry. Once you meet her, we are certain you will love her too!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the west Birmingham and I have lived here my entire life.
What is your testimony?
My mom told me that I would sit in church at age two and listen to the preachers sermon’s and cry. I was a good kid, never smoking or drinking, etc. But it was really at the age of twenty-five, I truly surrendered my life to Christ and began a personal relationship with the Lord. After that my life completely changed.
Describe your call to ministry.
In the AME we have what we call the Young People’s Department (YPD). I was active in my YPD. I felt the call of God early on, but I rebelled some. My grandfather was an AME pastor. I was active in the church through singing and had been speaking since I was 13 years old. When I was 35 years old I had a dream and the Lord told me I was being disobedient to His call to ministry. So I talked to my pastor and he told me sit and listen to the Lord for a while. After that I sat before our church conference, and they voted to let me be a pastor. Since then I have served three churches.
Are you married? Do you have any kids?
Yes, my husband (Donald) and I have been married for 33 years. We have four kids; three sons and one daughter. We also have six grandchildren, and are raising our two year old grandson.
Where do you serve in ministry?
Currently Mt. Zion AME Church in Trussville. I have served there four years.
What is your favorite hobby?
I love to read! I also like to sing. Oh and I love to shop!
What is your favorite sport to watch and/or play?
I love to watch basketball! I am an avid basketball fan. Go Lakers!
What is your favorite class?
I loved Dr. Jackson’s “Church Evangelism,” I would come into that class and my jaw would drop in amazement. I probably grew the most in my personal evangelism. I have actually put what we learned in that class into practice. Now when I go out and eat I ask my waiter how I can pray for them. It has opened up some good doors for conversation. I also liked “New Testament” with Dr. Aernie
Besides the Bible what was the last book you read?
A House Divided by Kimberla Roby. It was fiction about a preacher who had a child before he got married and the mother of the child resented the baby. It was a very interesting read.
What is one piece of advice you would give students about their years in seminary?
Pray without ceasing! In everything you do, do it as unto the Lord.
NOBTS Birmingham Center is an extension of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. For information regarding the Birmingham Center please visit our website